Rehabilitation Results of Patients with Multiple Injuries and Multiple Organ Failure and Long-term Intensive Care

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BackgroundMultiple organ failure is regarded to be the major complication of trauma victims treated in the intensive care unit. Long-term rehabilitation results of this special group of patients have not been analyzed so far.MethodsFifty patients with multiple injuries and multiple organ failure (Injury Severity Score > or = to 36.8) were followed-up 4.9 +/- 0.3 years after the trauma. To show any organotopic sequelae, laboratory tests for the function of lungs, liver, kidney, and the hematologic system were performed. Additionally their functional (locomotion and neurologic system) and occupational rehabilitation results were investigated.ResultsThe laboratory tests showed entirely normal results. The only pathologic values could be found in the lung function tests. Nineteen percent of the patients showed nonphysiologic results in either spirometry, body plethysmography, or diffusion capacity of carbon monoxide. In more than 25% of the patients, permanently decreased range of motion (limitation of more than 30% of the entire range of motion) of the elbow, hip, knee, or ankle joint were found. In 40% of the patients, permanent motoric nerve lesions were identified; in 50% of the patients, permanent sensoric nerve lesions could be verified. The return to work rate was 60%.ConclusionsPatients with multiple injuries, who survived multiple organ failure during their long-term intensive care treatment, show an excellent functional and occupational rehabilitation result. They show no major sequelae in their organ function even years after the trauma. Although often these patients suffer from permanent central or peripheral paralysis and decreased range of motion, this finding does not correlate with the patients' ability to return to work.

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